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  • War inquiry

    Reuters , Keith Weir

    The United States followed its own military timetable for the 2003 invasion of Iraq rather than allowing diplomacy to run its full course, the former British ambassador to the United Nations said on Friday.

    Jeremy Greenstock told the Iraq war inquiry he did not think U.N. inspectors had been given enough time before the March 2003 invasion to search for weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

    No such weapons were found after the U.S.-led invasion and overthrow of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, but Greenstock said he remained convinced Iraq was hiding something.

    "There was a concealment committee established by Iraq and they were very good at it," he added.

    He said he believed war would probably still have followed if the United States had agreed to delay use of force until October, but that the campaign would have had greater legitimacy.

    He said military planners wanted to launch the campaign early enough to avoid fighting during the hot summer months.

    In an opening written statement, Greenstock said only U.S. President George W. Bush was in a position to "switch off" the planning ahead of the invasion.

    "The US and the UK had, well before then, decided that the threat from Iraq, which was genuinely perceived as including the potential threat of the use of WMD, could only be terminated either if Saddam Hussein conceded absolutely everything the resolutions demanded or if his regime fell."

    "If this was to be achieved through a UN route, that had to happen on a U.S.-ordained timing," he added.

    Greenstock, British ambassador at the UN from 1998 to 2003, was appearing on the fourth day of a public inquiry into the invasion and subsequent war in which 179 British soldiers were killed.

    Former Prime Minister Tony Blair is expected to appear before the inquiry early in the new year.

    Many Labour supporters were angered by his backing for Bush and the invasion and his appearance risks reopening old wounds ahead of a general election due by June, at which opinion polls suggest Labour will lose the grip on power it has had since 1997.

    Much of Greenstock's testimony focussed on failed efforts to secure a UN resolution explicitly backing the use of force against Iraq.

    Greenstock said the campaign was not illegal but was of "questionable legitimacy" because it did not have support of the majority of UN members nor the majority of Britons.

    Greenstock said his Iraqi counterpart Mohammed al-Douri told him on September 20 2002 that his country did not possess WMD.

    "He told me that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. That was his view. We were not in a position in any part of the UK government to ascertain for certain whether or not that statement was true," he added.

    A five-member inquiry team, headed by former civil servant John Chilcot is examining the reasons for British participation in Iraq, promising a thorough and rigorous probe of events.

    Their report is expected late next year.

  • #2
    Originally posted by tankie View Post

    Greenstock said the campaign was not illegal but was of "questionable legitimacy" because it did not have support of the majority of UN members
    More nations supported the invasion, than were part of the original UN


    • #3
      Originally posted by zraver View Post
      More nations supported the invasion, than were part of the original UN
      While a close call, that statement is wrong.

      50 Founding members against 49 willing nations (according to the white house: Coalition Members )


      • #4
        Support isn't support unless your either helping to equip,supply, otherwise assist militatily or hold a gun. Addage is true, actions speak louder than words. Willing can be categorised into whether your willing to take the risk burden thats assigned to you without seeking preferential treatment... What shitted me off at the time was all the tough talk from countries that were previously kissing Saddams ass (ours included) covertly months before.
        Last edited by Chunder; 28 Nov 09,, 14:17.
        Ego Numquam


        • #5
          Thanks mods for correcting my spelling mistake in the title


          • #6
            From the article:

            Much of Greenstock's testimony focussed on failed efforts to secure a UN resolution explicitly backing the use of force against Iraq.

            Might the UN oil for food scandal come out to the public or will it keep on being swept under the rug?


            • #7
              This guy has it completely backwards: we should've gone SOONER, not later. Delay is the ONLY thing we got for our delay. Bush supposedly got something in return for granting extra time for some unspecified Good Thang to happen, but what it allowed was Saddam's extra war-making potential to develop. That was what proved to be problematic: the Fedayeen Saddam, the empowerment of actual criminal elements that were released from prison en masse, and who knows?, possibly the hiding/relocation of his WMD stocks.

              (I am still unconvinced that they were never there. It doesn't square with what I know.)

              And if this guy thinks that the dam' UN can EVER confer 'legitimacy' on US actions, he's the sort that should be kept far, far away from any official policy-making.


              • #8

                This guy has it completely backwards: we should've gone SOONER, not later. Delay is the ONLY thing we got for our delay.
                IIRC going through the UN was the price blair asked for in return for british support. going through the minds of the policymakers at the time, they were certain that the iraqi army would be brushed away like so much lint-- what they were after was not even so much the international help but the international cover...and if not the UN, then at least the ABCA.
                There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov


                • #9
                  14 days would have added one division and possibly a second flag.

                  30 days would have added two divisions and a Canadian Mech Bde Group.


                  • #10
                    I wonder just what Bliar will come up with


                    One of the country's top legal advisers during the run up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq said on Tuesday he believed the military action was illegal.

                    Michael Wood, the most senior legal adviser at the Foreign Office until 2006, told an inquiry examining Britain's role in the war a United Nations resolution authorising the use of force had been required to make the military action lawful.

                    "I considered that the use of force against Iraq in March 2003 was contrary to international law," Wood said in a written statement to the inquiry.

                    "In my opinion, that use of force had not been authorized by the Security Council, and had no other legal basis in war."

                    In the weeks running up to the March 2003 invasion, former Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. officials tried to persuade the other members of the U.N. Security Council to agree to a resolution authorising the use of force.

                    However, after negotiations failed, the government's top lawyer, Attorney General Peter Goldsmith, told parliament three days before the invasion that a combination of previous U.N. resolutions made the action lawful

                    Wood told the inquiry on Tuesday that he had consistently advised that regime change was not a legal basis for war, and action required a specific U.N. mandate, which was absent in the resolution 1441 passed in 2002.

                    "I made it clear that, in my view, the draft that they were working towards did not authorise the use of force without a further decision of the Security Council," he said, telling the inquiry he disagreed with Goldsmith's view.

                    Other declassified documents showed he had also made it clear to Foreign Secretary Jack Straw in January 2003 that there was no legal basis for military action.

                    Goldsmith, who some commentators argue changed his advice after coming under pressure from Blair, is due to give evidence on Wednesday.

                    BLAIR TO APPEAR

                    Blair himself will make his eagerly awaited appearance on Friday, and Wood's evidence along with the now public documents will add to the pressure for him to explain why he sent 45,000 British troops to war in Iraq

                    The conflict, which provoked huge protests, still remains a millstone around the ruling Labour Party's neck and continues to haunt Blair's successor Gordon Brown, who was chancellor during the war.

                    Many Labour MPs and supporters remain angry over the government's decision to support U.S. President George W. Bush in a war and occupation during which 179 British soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis caught up in insurgency were killed.

                    Brown set up the inquiry last year to learn lessons from the conflict, but some Labour figures fear it will be divisive and damage their electoral chances ahead of an election due by June, with their party already trailing in the polls.

                    Brown will appear before the election and could face difficult questions about his role in the war.

                    "I think the mistake in the war was not to do the reconstruction and plan it in the way that was necessary so that Iraq could recover quickly after Saddam Hussein fell," Brown told reporters on Monday when the issue was again raised.


                    • #11
                      I just love how politics always capitalizes upon hind sight knowledge instead of foresight knowledge. Why not just state it as...listen to us, invade, do the job that needs to be done, and we will surely blame you for it later. Hindsight knowledge nor politics didnt help save those poor bastards from chemical attacks though did it.

                      Must be nice to be politically correct with smugness while peoples lives hang in the balance.tick tick tick. Just be glad it wasnt yours.;)
                      Last edited by Dreadnought; 26 Jan 10,, 18:20.
                      Fortitude.....The strength to persist...The courage to endure.


                      • #12
                        I think after these six hours at the Iraq inquiry, history will not take kindly to Tony Blair.

                        Tony Blair heckled as he says 'no regrets' over Iraq at end of inquiry grilling
                        29 Jan [Times] Tony Blair was heckled from the public gallery at the Iraq inquiry tonight as he wrapped up a dramatic day of testimony by declaring that he had no regrets about ousting Saddam Hussein.

                        The former Prime Minister spent six hours testifying to Sir John Chilcot's panel as it painstakingly pieced together the sequence of events leading up to the Iraq invasion in March 2003 and openly admitted that he had been ready to commit British troops almost a year earlier.

                        Outside the QEII conference centre in Westminster hundreds of antiwar protesters, chanting slogans such as "Blair lied, thousands died!" and "Jail Tony!"

                        They were denied a clear view of the former Prime Minister, who slipped in by a back entrance ....

                        But he could not entirely escape the protests. Sitting behind him during six hours of testimony were relatives of some of the 179 soldiers killed in the Iraq conflict - although many complained that Mr Blair had not even acknowledged their presence.

                        This evening as he was wrapping up, one member of the audience shouted at him: "You're a liar." A second added: "And a murderer."


                        • #13
                          Gordon Brown is going to face an election soon.

                          Blair Iraq evidence leaves PM facing grilling
                          8 hrs ago [AFP] LONDON Tony Blair's evidence to the Iraq war inquiry, notable for a lack of any apology, sets up an awkward appearance within weeks for Prime Minister Gordon Brown, ahead of a likely May election.

                          Blair's unrepentant testimony sparked fury among military families and criticism from the press, reviving memories of what many commentators see as Labour's biggest blunder since taking power in 1997.

                          The former PM told the Chilcot inquiry that he accepted "responsibility but not regret for removing Saddam" -- prompting shouts of "liar" and "you're a murderer" from the public gallery.

                          Brown has talked little about his role in Blair's decision to take Britain to war in 2003 alongside the United States and he oversaw the end of the country's military mission in Iraq last year.

                          But Blair's former communications chief Alastair Campbell told the inquiry this month that Brown -- chancellor of the exchequer for a decade before taking over from Blair in 2007 -- was one of the "key ministers" his boss consulted at the time.

                          This could raise tricky questions about Brown's judgement and whether he tried to talk Blair out of launching into a war in which 179 British soldiers died, shortly before an election which opinion polls predict he will lose. ....


                          • #14
                            Well i know who i believe and it aint Bliar , commanders on the ground Knew exactly what we were ill prepared for .

                            Reuters Kylie MacLellan

                            Britain was not ready militarily to launch the Iraq war in 2003 and its soldiers went in without adequate equipment, the country's defence chief said on Monday.
                            Air Chief Marshal Jock Stirrup arrives to give evidence at the Iraq Inquiry in London

                            Jock Stirrup, who was deputy chief of staff in charge of equipment at the time of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, told an Iraq war inquiry that the government had been warned of the risk that its troops would not be fully equipped in time.

                            "We simply didn't have enough time, as it turned out, to do everything we needed to before the operation started," he told the inquiry set up to learn lessons from the conflict.

                            There were particular shortages of desert clothing, boots and body armour, Stirrup said, and in many cases the equipment that was delivered on time did not end up in the right place.

                            The death of Sergeant Steven Roberts early in the war caused a public outcry in Britain because it emerged that he was not wearing protective plates in his body armour. He had been ordered to give them to another soldier because of shortages.

                            Retired officers and soldiers' relatives have complained that British troops were sent into war with inadequate equipment, putting their lives at risk, but on Friday Tony Blair denied to the same inquiry that this had been the case.

                            Stirrup said an extra two months would have made a significant difference to the level of equipment available.

                            "That is 50 percent additional time," he said. "We were finding that in a number of cases we were getting 100 percent delivery about a month or two after the operation started."

                            The inquiry already has heard evidence that planning for the invasion was hindered by worries that public military preparations might damage ongoing diplomatic negotiations.

                            "We made it absolutely clear to ministers that if we were not allowed to engage with industry, and that was the critical element ... there was a serious risk that they would not all be delivered by the assumed start of the operation," Stirrup said.

                            "The issue was it was all being done so rapidly at the last minute no one was quite sure who had what," he added.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by tankie View Post

                              Retired officers and soldiers' relatives have complained that British troops were sent into war with inadequate equipment, putting their lives at risk, but on Friday Tony Blair denied to the same inquiry that this had been the case.
                              Tankie: The Howard Govt wanted to send our Leo 1's to participate until someone told Cabinet that the Iraqi's were better equipped than us (or so rumour has it) Apparently it was a driving motive for getting Abrahms quick smart.

                              Nothing like a bit of reality :)
                              Ego Numquam